Greek Mythology Creation Story
Greek Mythology Creation Story (Timeline Based on Hersoid & Homer)
ADDucation’s Greek mythology creation story is largely based on the works of Greek philosophers Hesiod and Homer. We have organized the Greek gods and goddesses into a timeline which includes the three main “dynasties” which ruled the cosmos, perfect for students and an epic bedtime story for fans of horrible history stories.
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In the beginning there was Chaos, followed by Earth (Gaia), then Tartarus then Eros. These were the first four primordial/protogenoi gods created according to the Greek mythology creation story.
Out of Chaos darkness (Erebus) and Night (Nyx) appeared. Erebus and Nyx bore Light (Aether) and Day (Hemera). Earth (Gaia) alone99* gave birth to the Heavens (Uranus) and other primordial deities.
Uranus hated the Cyclops and the Hekatonkheires and imprisoned them all in Gaia’s womb against her wishes. Gaia plotted with Cronus, her youngest and wily child who hated Uranus. Cronus ambushed Uranus as he lay with Gaia, cut off his genitals, with a sickle made by Gaia, and threw them into the ocean. It’s not clear whether Uranus died, withdrew from Earth, or exiled himself to Italy. Before departing Uranus promised to punish Cronus and the Titans. From his spilt blood came:
- the Gigantes: 100 giants, each with fifty heads and one hundred hands
- the Meliae: Ash tree nymphs
- the Erinyes: The Furies were Crones, chthonic/underworld goddesses of vengeance
And from the sea foam where his genitals fell came:
- Aphrodite: Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation
Cronus became the first Titan ruler.
Cronus imprisoned the Cyclops and the Hekatonkheires in the pit of Tartarus (the Underworld), married his sister Rhea and, along with the other Titans, had many offspring.
Gaia told Cronus that Uranus had prophesied he would be overthrown by a son so, to prevent this, Cronus swallowed his children whole as they were born. Gaia perseuded Rhea, angry at the fate of her children, to conceal the birth of her sixth child, Zeus, who she took to Crete to be raised by Amalthea (a nymph). Rhea replaced the baby with a stone which Cronus swallowed.
On reaching adulthood Zeus masqueraded as a servant to his father Cronus, eventually becoming his cup bearer. Metis (daughter of Oceanus and Tethys) gave Zeus a drink which made Cronus disgorge his siblings and they joined Zeus in rebellion against the Titans. The war became known as the Titanomachy96* which lasted ten years and saw many battles between the Titans, based on Mount Othrys, and the Olympians on Mount Olympus.
Cronus and the Titans, apart from Prometheus and Themis who sided with Zeus, still had to be defeated and with Atlas as their leader in battle defeat looked likely. However, like his father, Zeus was also cunning. Zeus went down to Tartarus, and freed the Cyclops and the Hekatonkheires. The Cyclops forged lightning bolts for Zeus to use as weapons. The Hekatonkheires set up an ambush with boulders which they sprung on the advancing Titans who thought the mountains were falling on them and fled.
Zeus exiled his Titan enemies into Tartarus, apart from Atlas, who was forced to carry the world on his shoulders for eternity. Gaia was angry her children had been imprisoned and, with Tartarus, gave birth to Typhon, her last and most deadly giant offspring. Typhon challenged Zeus for rule over the cosmos. In a cataclysmic battle Zeus, using his lighting bolts, was able to kill Typhon who was buried under Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy.
Zeus faced one more final challenge from the Giants who attempted to invade Mount Olympus by piling mountains on top of each other but the Olympian Gods had grown strong and, with the help of his son Heracles (by Alcmene), the Giants were defeated.
Following their final victory the Olympian brothers divided the world up between themselves with Zeus as overlord and god of the Sky and Air. Poseidon was given the Sea and Hades the Underworld. The other gods were given powers according to their nature and desires. The Earth remained shared to do with as they pleased – even if they disagreed, unless Zeus, Poseidon or Hades were called to intervene.
Notes about Greek mythology creation story:
- This ADDucation list about the Greek mythology creation story is primarily compiled from the works of Hesiod (Theogony c700 BC) and Homer (Iliad and Odyssey 760-710 BC) because these authority sources are credited by ancient authors with establishing Greek religious customs. We have also referenced other sources, including later Roman sources, as indicated: 1*Hesiod, Theogony. 2*Homer, Iliad. 3*Hyginus. 4*Roman poet Ovid, Metamorphoses. 5*Plato, Republic. 6*Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca. 7*Cicero. 95*The Trojan war: Decade long war between the Achaeans (Greeks) and the Trojans (North West Anatolia, Turkey). The Trojans lost. 96*Titanomachy: Decade long war between Titan and Olympian gods. The Olympians won. AKA War of the Titans. 97*Gigantomachy: A later battle between the Gigantes and the Olympian gods. The Olympians won. 98*Protogenoi: First born, primordial deities. 99*Parthenogenesis: asexual reproduction.
- Latin spellings have been used throughout instead of the original Greek or Transliteration spellings, although some have been included for clarity.
ADDucation Lists Related to Greek Mythology Creation Story:
- A-Z List of Greek Gods and Goddesses…
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